The climactic event of Sunday's daylong Nowruz celebration of the Persian New Year at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will be a headlining performance by Iranian rock band Kiosk, which has staked out a career with music that examines and often criticizes the political and religious policies of its native country.
Musician Arash Sobhani, the group's main songwriter and lead guitarist, formed Kiosk in Tehran in 2003, and after the band's music was deemed "inappropriate" by Islamic cultural authorities, Sobhani moved the group to the U.S. in 2005.
Kiosk has continued to record and tour in a variety of cities with its musical blend of Gypsy jazz, Iranian folk, Western blues and rock.
In Iran, he largely worked as a support musician to other singers and wrote lyrics, but when his politically provocative songs made other vocalists reluctant to sing them, Sobhani became a singer himself.
The quartet also includes violinist Tara Kamangar, keyboardist-accordionist Ardalan Payvar and bassist Ali Kamali.
The group has been spotlighted by the BBC, Time magazine, PBS' "Frontline" and Pasadena-based KPCC-FM (89.3). It is scheduled to give the final performance of the day on Sunday, starting at 5 p.m. at LACMA's BP Grand Entrance.
Nowruz marks the beginning of spring, and Sunday's festival is put together by the Farhang Foundation, a nonreligious, nonpolitical and not-for-profit organization created in 2008 to celebrate and promote Iranian art and culture for the benefit of the community at large.